best time to book a hotel room
Booking a hotel room online – belchonock (depositphotos)

Some may believe booking a hotel room far in advance, to avoid high last-minute prices as you get closer to the travel date, is best. Others believe that off-season travel will save them big bucks instead of traveling in the middle of the holiday season. But, in reality, it’s not so simple. So when is the best time to book a hotel room? Kayak, Hopper, Expedia, Booking.com, and Hotels.com are some of the best hotel booking sites that offer unique insight to answer all these nitty-gritty questions.

Whether the trip’s goal is for business, a family holiday, a weekend staycation, a budget trip, or a luxurious 5-star hotel stay, there are always ways to score the best deals, and no one hates a good deal! Much research suggests that many fine details should go into hotel booking. In addition, there are the specific ins and outs many people aren’t familiar with about the best time to book a hotel room.

What Day Should I Book My Hotel Room?

It may surprise many there are best days to book a hotel room. Research shows that due to expected trends in booking, certain days are less popular than others to score that perfect hotel room.

You may save a bit of that precious money if you wait a night or two, no matter how excited you may be! Famous travel sight, Kayak, states that “our best bet is to book on Fridays and Saturdays.” They say prices are at their “peak” on Monday and Tuesday, so scoring the best deals for a hotel room falls on the weekend. To go into detail, Saturday would be cheapest for domestic travel, and Friday for international travel.

Have you ever considered that along with your booking day, your check-in and out day may also significantly impact your price? Changing your check-in or out date just a few days could grant you some valuable savings. According to Kayak, Tuesday is the optimal day for check-in, which applies domestically and internationally.

On the other hand, Hopper proclaims that Sunday is the Optimal Check-in day, and you will save about 19%. Therefore, if your trip allows for a bit of flexibility, hop on the Tuesday-Sunday train!

How Far in Advance Should I Book a Hotel Room?

Did you know that there are specific timelines based on the type of location you are going on that will help you score the best deals for your money? According to travel specialists, different destinations call for other booking times. A popular belief is that bookings should be made far in advance for the lowest prices, but research suggests otherwise!

Nerdwallet presented a recent 2022 study about this phenomenon. They collected data from over 2500 hotel room prices in 2019 and 2020. After conducting their study, they hypothesized that “Hotels are usually cheaper when you book 15 days out compared to four months out”

Hopper, another excellent travel saver company, provides numerous options to book the best hotels, flights, and more for the best deals. In addition, Hopper shows research about specific timeline data regarding hotel booking. To add to Nerdwallet’s study, we can see that Hopper provides more a detailed proposal and states, “If you’re headed to a smaller vacation destination, book at least a month in advance,” and “If you’re headed to a big city, consider booking last-minute.”

Hopper suggests this is because large cities will provide many last-minute deals to get people in the doors. On the other hand, smaller vacation destinations are very competitive, and hotels will raise their prices for guests trying to sneak a spot last minute. So depending on your travel destination, take all the time you need, or don’t lose any time!

What is the Best Month to Book a Hotel Room?

Considering what we have learned about how far in advance to book and on which days, we need to consider the month. We all know that hotels get a lot busier during the holidays and peak seasons, but it is not to say you can’t still score some fantastic deals! September is the best month to book a hotel room in the US for peak season or off-season.

Internationally, the cheapest months are July and December, being 6% cheaper on average. This research comes from Skyscanner, which closely examines the best months to book hotel rooms based on their thousands of bookings. Skyscanner provides hundreds of deals on hotels all around the world. They also say October holds the highest domestic prices, and internationally, booking in July saves a whopping 9% average, “This is followed closely by April with 8% savings.”

Is There an Optimal Time of Day to Book My Hotel Room Last Minute?

Actually, yes, there is! We have all been there, booking last-minute hotel rooms due to complications such as missed flights or other schedule changes. Suzanne Rowan Kelleher, a travel trend specialist, posted an article to Forbes Magazine with personal insights for the best time of day to book your hotel room.

So listen closely; this is some good stuff! We learned that Tuesday is our critical booking day; waiting until 4 pm is the perfect time for price plummets. If you are not lucky enough to book your last-minute stay on a Tuesday, don’t worry! This 4 pm rule applies to any day of the week. Unlike flights, which typically rise in price as time passes, hotel rooms tend to become desperate to fill last-minute empty spots, landing you the perfect deal.

Alright, now that we are experts, we can do a quick recap on the best time to book a hotel room! We can remember to:

  • book on the weekends
  • check in on a Tuesday or Sunday
  • grab a last-minute deal at 4 pm
  • book smaller vacation destinations in advance
  • city stays last minute
  • book in December or July!

Hotel booking timing is not your only way to shave cost, find out when to find cheap flights to reduce your trip budget even more.

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